What is positive thinking?
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to
greatness” – Oprah Winfrey
Positive thinking is a mental attitude in which you expect good
and favorable results. A positive mind waits for happiness, health
and a happy ending in any situation. However, positive thinking
actually means approaching life’s challenges with a positive
outlook. It does not necessarily mean avoiding or ignoring the
bad things; instead, it involves making the most of the potentially bad situations, trying to
see the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.
Thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that
run through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your
self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that
you create because of lack of information. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you’re likely
an optimist – someone who practices positive thinking. If the thoughts that run through your
head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic.
We have around 60,000 thoughts a day, many of which come and go so quickly that we’re
not aware of them. And how many of these prevent us from fulfilling our potential?
Quality of thoughts
Thinking about the Past:
Thinking about the past is one kind of waste thoughts. Imagine how much time we spent
thinking about past events and life. There are very few times we think about the sweetness
of past. Most of these thoughts are about the past mistakes or decisions. It is all right to learn
from the past but it is totally wastage of time to think about the sad and bad memories of
past again and again. It may be hard to believe that 80% of your thoughts are about the past.
Worrying about the Future:
Another part of waste thoughts is thinking too much about tomorrow. We forget to live in
the present while worrying about the future. An average person spent 15% of the time
thinking too much about future. What portion of thoughts left for positive, negative and
necessary thoughts? It is only 5%.
Thinking about Present:
122 Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love
Only 5% of our thoughts are about the present. Let us divide these thoughts into Positive,
Negative and Necessary. What do you think that how much of these thoughts are positive?
It is just 1 or 2%. This is the volume of positive thinking of the average human being.
This is the quality of our thoughts and our life. You know very well that our happiness,
peace and love purely depend on the positive thoughts. Therefore, it is important to have
healthy thoughts in our mind.
Positive thoughts: These are thoughts related to peace, affirmations, happiness, love
Negative thoughts: Feelings related to ego, anger, grudge and fear comes into
Necessary thoughts: Thoughts related to daily activities and planning comes into
Waste thoughts: Even if we have no power on circumstances, we still keep thinking
about them. Thoughts about these situations are called waste thoughts.
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”- Zig
Reframing your thinking
Example 1: Girl getting dressed for a party
“I’m too fat, I won’t know what to say, and I won’t fit in”.
Reframe: I’ll have fun; I look fine, and my friends like me the way I am.
Example 2: “This assignment is too big; I’ll never get it finished”.
Reframe: “If I relax and focus, break down the assignment into smaller bits and manage my
time well, I’ll finish by the deadline”;
Example 3: “I’ve never done something this big before, what if I can’t do it”?
Art of Positive Thinking
Theeranaipunya II – Skill Enhancement and Capacity Development of Fisher Youth 123
Reframe: “I love a challenge. This assignment is simply a bigger version of my past
successes it’s time to step up”.
Example 4: “I’ve bombed the exam and now I’m going to fail this subject”.
Reframe: “It’s too early to tell yet, maybe I did better than I expected, let’s wait and see”
Example 5: “You are an idiot!”
Reframe: “Don’t worry, its ok. Let’s be careful next time”.
Example 6: “You are a looser!”
Reframe: “You didn’t make it this time but next time we will try again.”
Remember: In reframing, we are not changing the situation or neglecting responsibility for a
mistake but we change the way we look at ourselves and therefore have access to more
supportive ways to deal with the situation. Give it a go!
Practice these simple exercises and suggestions to keep your thoughts on the positive side.
Only use positive words while talking. If you’re constantly telling yourself “I can’t”
you may convince yourself that’s the truth. Replace these negative words with
positive ones instead. Tell yourself you will do your best or that you will try your
Direct your thoughts. This technique, used by psychotherapists, can help you to
control your thoughts when you start to feel down or anxious. Create a happy
thought, a positive image, or give yourself positive feedback to keep bad feelings in
Believe you will succeed. There is nothing like believing in yourself to create a
successful reality. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and believe that you will
succeed in fulfilling your goals.
Analyze what went wrong. Thinking positively doesn’t mean denying that there is
anything wrong. Instead, give yourself some time to think about the things that led
up to your current situation so you can avoid future mistakes and look toward a
more positive tomorrow.
Give yourself credit. Often when we feel
frustrated or upset we only concentrate on
the bad things or the mistakes we’ve made
instead of giving ourselves credit for what
we do right. Allow yourself to feel
confident about the things you have
accomplished, even if you’ve messed up in
Forgive yourself. Constantly beating
yourself up about things that have gone wrong won’t change them. Tell yourself that
you’re forgiven for your mistakes and allow yourself to move on.
124 Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love
Learn from the past. The past is behind you and no matter how badly things went
there is nothing you can do to change them. Whenever you feel negative thoughts
about the past come up, replace them with positive thoughts about the future.
Remember things could be worse. No matter how bad things get to, remember that
they could be worse and be grateful for all the good things that are in your life, even
when it seems there’s more bad than good.
Look for opportunity. In every failure, there’s an opportunity to improve. Spend
time thinking of ways you can turn your setbacks at work into ways you can get
ahead in the future.
Stop making excuses. There are always a million excuses for any person not to do
something even if that something can make them feel happier. Stop putting up
obstacles to your happiness and ditch those lame excuses when you hear yourself
Don’t play the victim. Bad things happen to everyone from time to time. Pitying
yourself and wanting others to feel sorry for you isn’t going to make things better.
Pick yourself up and start working towards a happier future.
Associate yourself with those who think positively. Positivity is contagious, so find
friends and family members who look on the bright side to surround yourself with.
Come up with ideas of how to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. If you
find yourself thinking you should have done this or that differently, try changing
your thoughts around. Instead give yourself credit for what you did. Do remember
that you are not perfect or that you can do better next time.
Visualize a successful outcome. Sometimes it can be helpful to picture yourself
completing a project successfully or getting the promotion you desire. This can
encourage you and make you feel better about the situation.
Think of ways to turn visualization into action. The next natural step of this is to
think of just how you’re going to get to where you see yourself. Just picturing it isn’t
going to make it happen, so create a plan to take it one step at a time until you’ve
Take control of your decisions. You’re the boss of what is going on in your life, even
when you feel like you don’t have a choice. Take back control of your decisions and
make the choice to be happier and more positive.
Smile. Sometimes all it takes to feel good is to put a smile on your face.
Difference between positive & negative thinking
Positive thinking Negative thinking
They are winners They are losers
Always has a program Always has an excuse
Says “ let me do it for u” Says “ that is not my job”
Sees an answer for every problem Sees a problem for every answer
Art of Positive Thinking
Theeranaipunya II – Skill Enhancement and Capacity Development of Fisher Youth 125
Stand firm on values but compromise on
Stand firm on petty things but
compromise on values
Says “it may be difficult but it is
Says “It may be possible but it is too
Makes a mistake & says “I was wrong” Makes a mistake & says “ it wasn’t my
Are a part of the team Are apart from the team
See the gain See the pain
See possibilities See problems
Believe in win/ wins Believe for them to win someone has to
Plan & prepare to win Plan but no preparation
The health benefits of positive thinking
Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health.
Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
Increased life span
Lower rates of depression
Lower levels of distress
Greater resistance to the common cold
Better psychological and physical well-being
Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”